Category Archives: President's Report

On Affordable Housing

Jurisdictions in Washington State and in particular Western Washington are beginning to realize that a serious problem is facing many communities, which is encapsulated in the question: “why am I unable to afford a house or apartment?” That simple question is not pondered by those who purchased houses 40-years ago or even in the early 1990s. No, it is the question on the minds of the Millennials and Gen X aged members of our population or generally any families who make less than $73,026. On a per capita basis the number is $35,908.These are 2017 numbers and reflect the whole of the county to include Bainbridge Island where the median household income is $116,845 per their housing study published in 2018.

In 1968 when the Fair Housing Act was updated from the earlier version adopted in  1964, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) made an  assessment of how much families could afford to pay for housing. The framers of that legislation determined it should be no more than 30% of total household income. Any amount higher than that would create a “cost burdened” situation for those households. Meaning that if the individual or family had to spend more than that for housing there would not be enough money for other necessities such as light and heat, repairs and maintenance, food to feed the family, clothes or transportation.

This same act addressed also issues related to discrimination and how to provide for the very poor in our communities. Regarding the latter, The FHA-1968 set standards for Section 8 rent subsidies.

Leaving alone the issues of discrimination for the moment, what kind of house can the median household income family can afford? Starting with the $73,000 number and applying the 30% factor, there would be $21,900 per year or $1,825.00 per month  available for housing. Of course, any household that does not make $73,000 per year, such as would be true for individuals they are out of luck or they require subsidies.  For example, the single person making only $36,000 would have $10,800 per year or about $900 per month to spend on housing.

Read the full Letter Housing Affordable to All & Fair Housing Act of 1968

Kitsap County Planning Policies

 Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners Response to Kitsap County Comprehensive Plan Countywide Planning Policies – When Included in Kitsap County’s Comprehensive Plan

In going over staff reports for the Comprehensive Plan Amendments I find that one of the criteria being used to judge compliance with Kitsap County’s Comprehensive Plan is the Countywide Planning Policies. A point I tried to make when I completed each of my several Site Specific Comprehensive Plan Amendment applications was that these policies could not be used to judge compliance with the County’s Comprehensive Plan unless there had been a prior action to include these same policies – particularly the amendments to those policies adopted by the Board of County Commissioners in the fall of 2011, in Kitsap County’s Comprehensive Plan.

Please understand the issue is not whether Kitsap County adopted the Countywide Planning Policies as they did that according to my memory in 1998 with the then latest revisions occurring on November 19, 2007. The further revisions, i.e. the 2010 / 2011 amendments in October / November of 2011. No, the issue is……. did Kitsap County ever take action to include the the CPPs in the County’s Comprehensive Plan document? And specifically my question is where is the evidence that Kitsap County amended its Comprehensive Plan to include those 2011 CPPs amendments?

I have followed Kitsap County’s Plan adoption and Plan amendment process fairly closely since 1978 and have been involved particularly as a member of the public during the entire course of GMA planning. Some things may have escaped my notice, but one issue I have tracked is the Countywide Planning Policies. I have made comment about them on several occasions and at least tried to discover whether or not Kitsap County or any of the Cities were going to include the CPPs in their comprehensive plans (by amendment). So far I have been unable to document that the County or any of the Cities incorporated the CPPs or any of the revisions in their respective comprehensive plans. For quite a few years I have been critical of Kitsap County’s Comprehensive Plan and process (for many reasons) due to the fact the CPPs have not been included in (by amendment to) its Comprehensive Plan. My reading of GMA (RCW 36.70A.210) leads me to the conclusion that if the CPPs are to guide specific land use decisions, such policies must be included in and not be separate from the Comprehensive Plan.

The last time Kitsap County made any amendments to its Comprehensive Plan was in December of 2010. Even if the prior 2007 CPPs revisions had been included in that action, the amendments could not have been because they were not approved until October / November of 2011. Note the 2006 Plan amendments that came back to Kitsap County on remand did not have CPPs and no action was taken when addressing the remand issues to also include the 2011 CPPs in the final action on the 2006 Plan amendments.

So again I ask, by what comprehensive plan amendment action did Kitsap County include the CPPs or any of the amendments? The mere fact that Kitsap County along with the Cites may have adopted those policies is not the issue. By definition the CPPs are “framework policies” adopted with the purpose of providing guidance to member jurisdictions (of KRCC) in the preparation of their respective comprehensive plans. If such policies are to provide specific guidance to implementing ordinances, such policies must be included in the comprehensive plans.

You may remember that both Jack Hamilton and I provided extensive critique of the 2010 / 2011 proposed revisions to the CPPs. In short, the policies are poorly worded, not policies at all, filled with meaningless platitudes and at best offer poor guidance to any jurisdiction adopting them. The policies are so bad, Kitsap County’s elected officials and staff should be embarrassed to admit either recommending them for adoption or that they adopted them. Of course Kitsap County ignored our critique and made not one single change in the policies to reflect any of our criticism and there was not one single response to either of our critique’s or any portion there of. A significant fact worthy of note here is that there are 118 times when so called policies are worded such that they are “mandates.” Mandates are not policy! They are in fact prescriptive and therefore belong in an ordinance not a policy statement.

Jack and I tried to appeal the CPPs 2011 amendments to the Growth Management Hearing’s Board and were told by that Board that citizens like us did not have standing to make such an appeal. Further they instructed us that we could appeal such policies if they were included in Kitsap County’s Comprehensive Plan. The Board did not opine as to whether an appeal could be made if the County used those policies (without including them in its comprehensive plan) to make decisions about what actions make the County’s Plan compliant with the CPPs.

If the answer to the question I posed at the beginning of this e-mail is that there was no action taken by Kitsap County to include the CPPs in its Comprehensive Plan, then such policies cannot be used to judge what is compliant with its adopted Plan. If the argument is that any change to the Plan must be compliant with the CPPs, then the apparent fact is the CPPs have been included within the plan by reference and thus they are now subject to appeal.   In either case I object to their use to judge individual Site Specific Comprehensive Plan Amendment requests. My concern also goes to the issue of how the County in good conscience can use any of these policies even as a “framework” for preparing its Comprehensive Plan, they are absolutely terrible.

William Palmer President Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners

 

2015 Slate of Officers

The Board of Directors propose the following list of Officers to be voted on at the 26 February Dinner Meeting.

Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners
2015 Proposed Board of Directors

Jackie Rossworn       Executive Director
William Palmer            President
Michael Gustavson      Vice President
John Taylor                   Treasurer
Faye Henden                 Secretary
Alan Beam                     Director
Rob Daughtery              Director
Russ Porterfield            Director
Marianne Gustavson    Director
Johnny Walker              Director
Carl Shipley                    Director

Opinion: Evidence needed for county code changes

Code_Compliance_Town_Hall_v4-3

The Board of County Commissioners opined in the “My Turn Column” that the current regulations for code enforcement are not working. They cited as examples some the worst cases of attempted code enforcement that have dragged on for months, years and even decades. There was a lot left out in their “opinion,” such as “the reasons why” these cases defy code enforcement and whether they are code, enforcement process related or because the individuals involved were or are just plain defiant.

Also not mentioned was the fact that similar, but more egregious version of the ordinance was first proposed in 2011. That “draft proposal” made it through the Planning Commission public hearing process and came to the Board of Commissioners for adoption. Concerns raised by the Kitsap Realtors, The Home Builders, the Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners and others, caused the Board to send it back to staff for redraft.

Like the 2011 version, ordinance issued in March was cause for alarm. A second revised draft was made available this time to the “stakeholders” in July of this year along with a slide presentation presumably showing the need for the proposed Title 5 Ordinance. Both the revised ordinance and the slide show are flawed for reasons too numerous to recount here, but the written critique by various stakeholders can be made available for all who might be interested.

Rising to the top of our concerns is the lack of documentation of the need for changing the system of how Kitsap County processes code compliance cases. For at least six months now, a request was made of the County to provide documentation of the extent of the problem as well as the reasons why some cases were resolved in an amicable fashion and others dragged on for an extended period of time. In order to satisfy the concerns of stakeholders, it would be necessary to compile the data from at least a five to ten year period of time to determine whether the problems identified are ordinance or process related. The County’s slide presentation did not contain the data required. A witness to that fact is in a nine page critique of contents of each slide in their presentation provided to the County in early August.

Regarding the “Lean Process improvements,” they have only occurred this year and there has not been enough time lapsed to evaluate the results within the context of the existing regulations. They need to be tested before the County continues with the arguments of a supposed need for a new ordinance.

Contrary to the innuendo of the Board of Commissioner’s comments regarding the responsibilities of property owners, it is easy to demonstrate that the overwhelming majority of property owners are indeed the best stewards of the land even though there are a few people who choose to disregard laws. At the core of the property owner’s concerns is the impact of regulations, especially those that are not needed, that erode those constitutionally guaranteed rights.

William Palmer, President Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners

Elections, Year of the Rural?, Notes

by Tim Matthes

Election reminder for our members

The general election is just around the corner and I need your help. Many of our members are very passionate about the candidates they are supporting. Please remember that Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners is non-partisan and we, as an organization, do not officially support any particular candidate. There are two good reasons for this position. Continue reading

Where There is a Will There is a Way!

By President Tim Matthes timcm@wavecable.com 

At our dinner meeting a member came up and asked, “How can we possibly win this battle?”  She was very discouraged after hearing what Senator Sheldon had to say about our State Legislature.  She and her neighbors up and down her beach would appreciate any information regarding her waterfront property and local government process for controlling it. Continue reading

Notes From The President’s Desk

by President Tim Matthestimcm@wavecable.com 

On February 25, Kitsap Allance of Property Owners (KAPO) hosted a Shorelines Master Plan (SMP) update meeting at the Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport.   We received an update and report from Kitsap County Community Development Director Larry Keaton and Environmental Projects Manager Patty Charnes.   We want to thank them both for their presentation, as well as taking the time to answer several of our questions.  We were able to use the Naval Undersea Museum Auditorium and had 55 property owners in attendance. Continue reading